Two days ago, Kevin Drum over at Mother Jones made a prediction on Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) probable reaction to President Barack Obama’s policy approach on the unfolding situation in the Ukraine:
“John McCain will appear on a bunch of Sunday chat shows to bemoan the fact that Obama is weak and no one fears America anymore.” (Emphasis added)
Two days later, like clockwork, John McCain, as reported by The Washington Post:
Sen. John McCain sharply condemned President Obama on Monday, blasting the administration’s foreign policy as “feckless” and partially responsible for the mounting crisis over the advance of Russian forces into Ukraine. […]“Why do we care? Because this is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy in which nobody believes in America’s strength anymore,” McCain said to the annual gathering of Jewish leaders in Washington. (Emphasis added)
As the saying goes: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”Read More
It’s been difficult for the Tea Party faithful to simply admit that yes, they do have racists among them. Every party does, why should they be any different? It obviously doesn’t mean they are all racist any more than it means that Democrats or Republicans are all racist because they have racists in their ranks. It does though raise important questions that American’s have to weigh when looking at the party, or any party for that matter. There are racists in all parties. Even the Tea Party. But, for some reason, they resist it. My intuition tells me this is because they are hiding the ugly fact that for some one of their primary motivations against Obama is racism. It wouldn’t be new in the annals of American conservative extremism and nativism. So, along comes confirmation of my intuition.
Apparently, my post last year on Glenn Beck’s pleading to the Tea Party to leave their signs at home for the “Restoring Honor” rally struck a cord. Here’s a comment made in, of all places, a fishing forum. (Which popped up in my trackbacks.)
It’s rather revelatory, because it pretty much dances over the blatant racism in the signs I use as examples in my post. Either the author – who not surprisingly uses the anonymous moniker “Detbuch”- doesn’t see the racism, or thinks it’s not important. Either way, he pretty much proves my point.
The anonymous “Detbuch” opens up with a basic logical fallacy, using a straw man argument to essentially say: “Some great American’s were racist, should we have not listened to them?” Which misses the point entirely. He adds to it with more apologizing for racism via the “we’re all racists” approach. He goes after me a little, not realizing that I didn’t have a problem with the stated point of the Beck rally, I was though making it clear that it was obvious why Beck was asking attendees not to bring signs, because he was afraid there would be racist signs. (As it turned out, that was the least of his worries.) Then in the middle, he gets to doing a “critique” of the photos in my post, in a rather pathetic attempt to prove the signs are not racist.
The problem with personal/anecdotal accounts is that they are all only tiny slices of reality, or versions of reality. Living in Detroit, most of my acquaintances are black. In private situiations, they are all overtly racist–unabashedly and proudly so. They are all Democrats. Is that a reason to not associate with Democrats? FDR, Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Margaret Sanger (founder of planned parenthood), the founders of this nation, were all racists. I suppose they should not have been associated with. Maybe most, if not all of us, are or have some degree of racism, and we should all become hermits. Can’t we, even with racist tendencies, still have salutary ideas and solutions to political and economic problems? Can’t we even be constitutionalists?
As for Twang’s thang re Beck’s restoring honor rally–just another biased hit piece–and one before the rally even occurred. Speaking of some previous rally, he, as is the common practice, cherry picks a few signs that he considers racist or having racist themes, totally ignoring the host of other signs such as one minutely seen in a background–“congress works for us not the other way around”–which is the predominant animus for the tea party movement. Even most of those he chooses, though rude and crude, are not racist. One refers to religion not race. Another reversed the slavery cliche. Two compared Obamacare to voodoo, another referred to his supposed connection to Islam (Hussein), the Dixie Chicks, and his supposed non-citizenship (Kenya). Another slammed cap and trade and played on the word “trade”–to “trade” him back to his supposed lack of citizenship (Kenya). The last one actually had a racist, mispelled pejorative “niggar.” Twang totally spins and paints Glen Beck’s positive attempt to unify Americans with, at the time, an upcoming rally, into Twang’s misconceived, hateful version–“Beck’s decision to blatantly ride on the coat of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement is nothing except a badly orchestrated and cynical effort to coopt the gravitas of MLK and the Rights Movement in order to replace the glaring lack of it in the Tea Party movement.” Twang’s own lack of “gravitas” is evident in his myopic, slanted, name-calling (teabaggers, tea bag party) and too easy and uncritical accusation that the tea party is a platformless group of know nothings. The actual Restoring Honor rally was of a different philosophical “color” than that which Twang tried to paint it.
Each sign that I highlighted in the post has a unique view that is blatantly racist. It’s not difficult to figure out. But “Detbuch” glosses over it with the nonchalance of one completely desensitized to racist jargon and imagery.
Let’s go over each photo with “Detbuch’s comments and see what’s what.
“Even most of those he chooses, though rude and crude, are not racist. One refers to religion not race.”
“Detbuch” misses the obvious racism here which is implied. Comparing the Christian and the Kenyan with a final “That explains a lot about you.” is a basic eliminationist tactic. It’s implying that being Christian is good and that being Kenyan is a threat in some way, or that is means something bad. It’s hard to think of any of reason why someone would think that being from Kenya is bad other than the fact that Kenyan’s are dark colored. What other reason can you think of?
“Another reversed the slavery cliche.”
Clearly, “Detbuch” is simply not honest enough to see that implying that Obama is a “massa” is using racist loaded imagery and words to make it’s point. And, of course, the idea that a black man in power would be compared to a white man in power in this regard is using racist ideas to make it’s point. “Detbuch” chooses to gloss over it.
“Two compared Obamacare to voodoo…”
Racism is always about demeaning the person. This is an attempt to present Obama as a primitive, an ignorant “witch doctor”. The term “bone in the nose” was often used – and still is – as a racist insult. Pretty cut and dry, wouldn’t you think? I suspect that “Detbuch” lacks essential compassion for blacks, so he simply can’t see the racism that is blatantly clear here. It’s meant to demean Obama and lower him. Perhaps “Detbuch” doesn’t understand the actual definition of racism?
“…another referred to his supposed connection to Islam (Hussein), the Dixie Chicks, and his supposed non-citizenship (Kenya)”
Notice how “Detbuch” glosses over the “go back to Kenya” slight. To him, it’s just a reference to Obama’s “supposed non-citizenship”. When actually, such references have a long racist history. Telling people to go back to their native land is a long time cry of Nativists and racists. “Go back to Africa” for example. You’d think he’d brush up this stuff wouldn’t you?
“Another slammed cap and trade and played on the word “trade”–to “trade” him back to his supposed lack of citizenship (Kenya).” Here’s the photo:
Once again, “Detbuch” misses the racism here. This one is so obvious, it’s just like the prior one. I wonder why Detuch doesn’t see it? Probably because he focuses on the “cap and trade” but not the actual racist part that says: “go back to Kenya!”. Odd that. Maybe he didn’t read it all?
The last part by “Detbuch” I won’t even go into since Detbuch simply tries to turn the tables on me, and he does such a bad job of it I’d be wasting my time. And, the term “Tea Baggers”, and “Tea Party” are commonly used on Tea Party sites to refer to themselves. Interesting how he thinks my using the term is some type of insult. Who knew. I’d suspect like most Tea Partiers, he was completely unaware of the double meaning, of the former and was not happy. That’s what you get for stealing something rather than inventing your own name.
Finally, it’s telling that “Detbuch” apparently has no idea that the Know Nothings were a real conservative political movement and that the reference to them was not a slight as in “know nothings” but a historical fact that the modern Tea Party are the philosophical and political heir to the Know Nothing party of the 1800s.
Isn’t it odd that “Detuch” doesn’t know his own political ancestry?Read More
Today’s scary paranoid statement. Proof positive that fear propaganda works. And, works quite well:
“This whole TSA terrorism is nothing more than obama getting back at the American people for his “shellacking” at the polls…”
It must be utterly exhausting to contain so many bloated, incorrect and downright insipid conspiracy theories inside such a wee little brain.Read More
Glenn Beck is one cynical and desperate dude. The upcoming “Restoring Honor” rally at Lincoln Memorial is meant to re-brand the sullied and racist image of the Tea Party into the rainbow coalition just in time for the fall election. But, Beck’s decision to blatantly ride on the coat tails of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement is nothing except a badly orchestrated and cynical effort to co-opt the gravitas of MLK and the rights movement in order to replace the glaring lack of it in the Tea Party movement. They are that desperate.
It gets even better though. From the Atlanta Constitution-Journal:
On the air, Beck has asked attendees not to bring signs or come in anger, but to come in a peaceful spirit akin to the one espoused by King. “Don’t bring your signs,” he said on TV. “Bring your hearts … bring your open minds.”
Not bring signs? It’s a rally! Of course you bring signs! But, Beck is obviously concerned. It’s an admission that something went astray last time. He’s worried the same thing may occur this time. The Tea Party 9/12 rally last year was a smörgåsbord of racism and allusions to racist themes. Some examples for historical context:
The Tea Bag Party faithful brushed the documented claims of racism off as untrue, even in the face of the photographic and video evidence. Perhaps they simply can not see the racism. Perhaps they don’t want to see it. But, America knows what it saw.
To be clear, I’m not saying all Tea Baggers are racist. Yet, it can’t be denied that there is a strong racist element within the Tea Party ranks, and that a great deal of the motivation behind the entire platform (such as is is) is of a nativist, racist, hateful and eliminationist nature. Historically, fear, hate and racism have been great allies. And, they continue to be such. The Tea Party is the current day Nativist party, a modern version of the Know-Nothings. The platforms and ideas espoused are practically identical. No one disuptes that the Know-Nothings were a racist and eliminationist movement. The question remains who will claim the mantle of leadership of the Tea Party. Who will speak out against the racism?
The signs above tell the story. Will it happen again? Time will tell.Read More
Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania has gone after President Obama for deciding to appear on the daytime talk show “The View”:
I think there’s got to be a little bit of dignity to the presidency. […] I think there are some shows. I wouldn’t put him on “Jerry Springer,” too, right? … I think the president of the United States has to go on serious shows. And “The View” is, you can make a case that it’s a serious show, but it also rocks and rolls a little bit. I’m not sure he has to go on “The View” to be open to questions.
Right-wing Extremists have picked this up and run with it of course. But, they and Rendell miss the Big Picture. They don’t get it.
Back in 1993, President Clinton was heavily criticized for deciding to appear on MTV. It too was seen as “unpresidential”. But, at the time, and in retrospect, it was a brilliant stroke of media genius. And, through an entirely unscripted moment of unexpected “intimacy”, a new media world was born. Love it, hate it, it’s here. And, it’s important to remember, Obama is working in that world. The Museum of Television has this to say about that past media moment for Clinton, snd how it changed politics and the Presidency:
April 20, 1993 — Bill Clinton’s MTV Appearance
Not a historic date, perhaps, but a suggestive one. It was on this date that Bill Clinton discussed his underwear with the American people (briefs, not boxers, as it turned out). Why would the leader of the free world unburden himself like this? Why not? In television’s increasingly postmodern world, all texts–serious and sophomoric–swirl together in the same discontinuous field of experience. To be sure, Mr. Clinton made his disclosure because he had been asked to do so by a member of the MTV generation, not because he felt a sudden need to purge himself. But in doing so Clinton exposed several rules connected to the new phenomenology of politics: (1) because of television’s celebrity system, presidents are losing their distinctiveness as social actors and hence are often judged by standards formerly used to assess rock singers and movie stars; (2) because of television’s sense of intimacy, the American people feel they know their presidents as persons and hence no longer feel the need for party guidance; (3) because of the medium’s archly cynical worldview, those who watch politics on television are increasingly turning away from the policy sphere, years of hyper-familiarity having finally bred contempt for politics itself. For good and ill, then, presidential television grew apace between 1952 and the present. It began as a little-used, somewhat feared, medium of exchange and transformed itself into a central aspect of American political culture. In doing so, television changed almost everything about life in the White House. It changed what presidents do and how they do it. (Emphasis added)
Rendell doesn’t get it. The View is the perfect venue for Obama to communicate and reach out to the audience.
The idea that a show isn’t “presidential” enough is a matter of how the president behaves on that show. And, while I’m not a fan of The View, it’s clearly not Jerry Springer. It’s a show for moms, young women and older women. And, it’s a casual venue. As the Clinton example shows, even something potentially unpresidential can become a historical moment of presidential restraint, humor and connectedness to the people. And, a casual venue is the way to go to bring Obama to the people, give him more humanity and appeal, which media exposure tends to eat away.
I’d expect that is what many Conservatives fear.Read More
Monday link dump…
- Cheney: Waterboarding should have been an option for underbomber – “I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques,” he said. Of course, for years the CIA has maintained that torture does not produce actionable intel. And, of course, the public practice of torture (they went public with this remember) is more PR than anything. I am of the opinion that Cheney understands that torture does not create actionable intel. But, the propaganda value is simply too great in his view. This is the discussion we should be having…
- Cheney Struggles To Explain Terror Contradictions – Dick Cheney has never been one for consistency of message, nor of adhering to the established facts. It’s unfortunate that he now feels comfortable undermining a sitting president (no matter his political affiliation) in order to secure his own personal legacy and save his ass.
- Biden: Cheney ‘not entitled to re-write history’ – See above.
- A Terrorist Tried In Federal Court: The Case Of Aafia Siddiqui – When we examine the facts, it becomes clear that the GOP is using terrorism as political fodder. So, facts such as this get brushed under the carpet. It’s bad for the coutnry and it’s bad politics. But, they are a party in decline after all…I am for trying terrorists in civilian courts. So is the Pentagon.
- Critical Mass: Dem Agenda Opens Right-Wing Doors – Mandatory reading…
…the purpose of the [Olympics] attack on July 27 was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government.
President George W. Bush in January 2008 on bringing the 2016 Olympics to Chicago:
They say that the Olympics will come to Chicago if we’re fortunate enough to be selected, but really it’s coming to America, and I can’t think of a better city to represent the United States than Chicago… This country supports your bid, strongly.
Conservative blogger Erik Erickson on the failed bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago which President Obama (like Bush) supported and lobbied heavily for: (via Washington Monthly)
Hahahahaha. I thought the world would love us more now that Bush was gone. I thought if we whored ourselves out to our enemies, great things would happen. Apparently not.
So Obama’s pimped us to every two bit thug and dictator in the world, made promises to half the Olympic committee, and they did not even kiss him. So much for improving America’s standing in the world, Barry O.
Karl Rove today via Twitter:
Instead of serving as pitchman for Chicago, Obama should focus on crafting a winning strategy in Afghanistan.
(One can safely assume that Rove is referring to creating a winning strategy in Afghanistan to replace the losing one he and the Bush Admin created.)
And, last but not least… upon news that the 2016 Olympics was not coming to Chicago, they cheered in the offices of the Weekly Standard and then felt the need to delete that fact from the official record.
Conservative Charles Johnson – who has of late seen that extremist lunatics run the conservative movement – has this to say:
This is where the rhetoric of “FAIL” leads — they’re openly celebrating when America loses, just because Barack Obama is President. And even though this Olympic bid was also promoted by George W. Bush.
This completely puts the lie to the excuse that those who say they want Obama to fail really mean they want his policies to fail.
No, they want Obama himself to fail, and if that means America fails too, they’re just fine with that.
In other words, conservatives, like Eric Rudolph, want to “confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government.”
If you haven’t watched Bill Moyers on Real Time with Bil Maher, it’s worth watching. The point that conservatives are simply employing a scorched earth campaign to insure that Obama fails is important, and has to be confronted. And, he covers corporatism as well.Read More
Links of the day:
- Who is paying for the Iraqis to have universal single payer health care? You are.
- Glenn Beck Watch: ‘Is Obama The Anti-Christ?’ – An oldie but goodie. Glenn Beck wondering aloud if Obama is the Prince of Darkness come to end the world. Fear of a black planet at play.
- Johann Hari: Republicans, religion and the triumph of unreason – “The election of Obama – a black man with an anti-conservative message – as a successor to George W. Bush has scrambled the core American right’s view of their country. In their gut, they saw the US as a white-skinned, right-wing nation forever shaped like Sarah Palin.” Read the entire thing…
A few links worth reading:
- Five Symptoms of Republican Schizophrenia – Lots of illogical minds out there… that’s what happens when hate dominates….
- Revealing Hate: Inside White Supremacist World – Much of the current political atmosphere in the USA can be traced to the increase in hate based thought…. It’s more common than you think….
- Health Care Reform: Sorting Facts From Fiction…. – Good facts versus fiction… much needed in these times…
- Why the deficit hysteria? I only wish we’d borrow more… – Robert Reich’s interesting take on the deficit…
Weekend reading list….
- Matthew Yglesias » Bias, Racism, Being a Jerk, and Abuse of Power – Good insights…
- Peter Daou: White Cop, Black Professor, Bi-Racial President: An Explosive Media Combination Even more good insights…
- You Hate Journalism? It WAS the Hiring Practice…Stupid. – Good article on how bad media became bad…
- Feeling the Wrath of Bill O’Reilly’s Army – A bit o’ the fascist tactics of Falafel Bill.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Born Identity|
The “birther” movement is an extreme right wing disinformation campaign that proffers the idea that President Obama is not a US citizen, and was born abroad in Kenya. Here’s the rub: there are no actual facts to support this claim, rather the disinfo subsists on a form of cognitive dissonance – denial – and is propped up by a series of logical fallacies, from burden of proof to sweeping generalizations to just plain old bullshit.
It’s eliminationism in its purest form: marginalize your opponent to the point that they are a non-citizen, illegitimate, then cut off the discussion by dismissing any introduced facts as untrue. (Or made up, imagined, crazy, over sensitive, etc.)
For example, when the State of Hawaii confirmed that Obana’s birth certificate was indeed real and official, the birther movement simply denied it to be true and then went one better and denied that the birth certificate has yet to be provided as proof! Brilliant in a way. But, also, the very definition of a lie. Here’s the simple true logic: denying a fact (or its existence) does not create a new fact. (IE: Denying Obama’s birth papers are real does not mean he is not a real citizen.) That’s just crazy.
As an emerging issue it’s a double edge sword and difficult to discuss since it’s clearly a disinformation campaign with one aim: to stoke the racial hatred and undermine Obama’s legitimacy as President. And, its proponents love nothing more than to keep the hate fires burning.
Yet, in reality, Obama’s citizenship is a non-issue, it’s been proven beyond a doubt according to standards that have been suitable for every US President who has been elected prior. (But of course, to the racist, those standards are not good enough for a black person, let alone a black person named Barack Hussein Obama.)
FactCheck does a superb analysis of the “scandal” and analysis of the original certificate. The allegations are so completely incorrect and fabricated that it deserves nothing more than ridicule. The problem is that it’s wrapped in hate and irrationality, thus, there’s simply no middle ground from which to establish a coherent debate. Any introduction of fact is dismissed outright. That’s why hate based tactics are so difficult to fight against. Those who wage this type of tactic, (and those who believe it) simply deny the facts, deny the existence of the hate and the racism. It’s a figment of the imagination. Those looney Liberals!
There will always be those who want to believe what they believe, damn the facts. And, that is how “conspiracies” live and breath. That is how hatred and racism gain a foothold. If they don’t really exist, then why are they a problem? Neat, right?
In the past few days the birther movement has slithered into new territory. It is now being disseminated by traditional outlets on TV and radio – Lou Dobbs of CNN and Rush Limbaugh have both lent their “support” – and that means it should be dealt with properly. No longer simply a fringe issue spun in dark dank dive bars, afluent suburb BBQ’s and hidden corners of the internet by nut job conspiracy theorists, it’s now being lent “credibility”. While it’s true that neither Dobbs nor Limbuagh are known for their objectivity or adherence to the facts, and they both clearly suffer from a deeply rooted hate based approach in their worldview and broadcasts, the fact remains that their broadcasts are swallowed whole as the gospel truth by millions. Sad, but true.
Interestingly, the birther movement can be traced back to the Obama campaign itself during the 2008 election. It’s a public relations effort gone bad. Apparently, a decision was made, in the spirit of transparency to release Obama’s birth certificate. Historically, presidential candidates have not released such information. Rather, it was presented during qualification of the candidate, but not made public. So, by releasing the birth certificate the Obama campaign opened a Pandora’s Box. Once it was made public, it meant it was open to intense scrutiny – most of it incorrect – that would be passed around the internet as fact and eventually make it’s way to less discerning minds, like Dobbs and Limbuagh, and those who listen to them.
At it’s root the birther movement is racism. It’s meant to create the impression that Obama is illegitimate, lower than a US citizen, not one of us. It’s meant to stoke the fires of suspicion and hatred towards immigrants and people of color. It’s not unlike the “Obama is a Muslim” meme. Same thing.
So, next time someone says to you that Obama’s opponents are not racist, cite the birther movement. Cite the Obama is a Muslim meme. And, if that doesn’t get their attention, show them this picture. (scroll down)
If they still don’t get it, call it as you see it.
The only way we will defeat racism is to make it unacceptable. And, those who make excuses for it are just as unacceptable as those who are openly racist.Read More
Douglas Rushkoff on how to take back our world by seeing the current economic crisis as a great opportunity.Read More